A question I get asked a lot is: “Rhys I see you out diving all of the time, but you’ve got 3 kids, how do you do it!?”. Whilst it is true that having a family and spearfishing might seem impossible, it’s actually a lot more achievable than you might think. There is a few small tweaks that you can make that will really help to maximize your time in the water:
1. Support your partner
Your partner’s happiness needs to be priority number 1. Because after all, who else is going to watch your kids from dusk to dawn on a Sunday while you head out diving? I do everything I can to help my partner do her sports/hobbies as much as possible (CrossFit in this case), this might mean picking the kids up from school or helping them to get ready in the morning while she goes to training. The main takeaway is to make your partner feel like they are supported in what they love because it will always come back around.
By prioritizing your partner’s happiness and assisting them in pursuing their passions, you’re fostering an environment of reciprocity that enables you to pursue your own pursuits, such as spearfishing.
2. Prioritize Spearfishing (over all of your other sports and hobbies)
Firstly, you have to drop the notion that you will have enough time to go spearfishing and still do all of your other sports and hobbies.
You want to go spearfishing more? Well then spearfishing needs to be priority number 1 (ok well after your partner and family).
This might mean having to quit JiuJitsu, stop surfing and even cut out meeting the boys at the pub on a Friday night. Anything that remains will need to be tangential and spontaneous. Instead of spending 2 hours at crossfit each time I go to training I will squeeze in a quick 30 minute park workout each week. Remember: your time is limited so make sure to use it wisely.
I have always loved the idea of learning to Kitesurf, but the reality is it would take away 1 day per week and I would need to choose between Kiting and Spearing (of course spearing wins for me).
Two family men doing what they love
3. Do the Mahi (work) to get the Mahi
Spearfishing is a lot of work, you are up at the crack of dawn and back sometimes as the sun is setting. I don’t know about you but I usually just want to go straight to sleep after a big day out. Well it’s time to “pucker up buttercup” because there is stuff to do: gear to washdown, fish to prep, a car to unpack. Don’t expect any help from those close to you. It’s time to roll up your sleeves and do the mahi, this might mean not finishing until late at night and having a terrible post-spearing headache the next day.
A sunset fileting session followed by a drive home in the dark, all for the love of diving
In conclusion, juggling the demands of family life and a passion for spearfishing may appear challenging, but with a few strategic adjustments, it’s more achievable than it seems. The key lies in fostering a supportive partnership that values each other’s interests and endeavors. By prioritizing your partner’s happiness and assisting them in pursuing their passions, you’re fostering an environment of reciprocity that enables you to pursue your own pursuits, such as spearfishing.
Moreover, it’s crucial to reshape your priorities and acknowledge that to fully embrace spearfishing, certain sacrifices may be necessary. This means letting go of other sports and hobbies, recognizing that time is a limited resource. By committing to spearfishing as a primary focus, you’re making the most of the time you have, and any remaining activities become supplementary and spontaneous.
Lastly, spearfishing entails significant effort, from early mornings to late nights spent cleaning gear and prepping fish. It’s a testament to the dedication required to balance the thrill of the sport with the responsibilities of everyday life. While it may involve hard work and late nights, the satisfaction gained from a successful day out on the water makes it all worthwhile. Ultimately, with thoughtful adjustments, a supportive partnership, and an unwavering commitment, the seemingly impossible task of reconciling family life with a passion for spearfishing becomes a reality.
About the author:
Rhys Clay is a family man, Spearo, YouTuber (No Viz Adventures) and Surfer from the Sunshine Coast in Qld, Australia. Rhys loves spending time in the water and bringing home a feed for the extended family. Rhys has recently launched a niche spearfishing product business called Jolly Roger Spearfishing, you can check them out here: jollyrogerspearfishing.com.au
As a hunter on a guided hunt, you become an integral part of the natural ecosystem, pitting your skills and instincts against the untamed challenges of the wild. From the exhilaration of tracking your prey to the deep satisfaction of a successful hunt, the experience is truly extraordinary.
This comprehensive guide will explore the ten essential factors contributing to a successful guided hunting trip. Whether you’re a seasoned hunter or a beginner, understanding and incorporating these key elements will greatly enhance your hunting experience.
1. Hunter’s Checklist
A successful hunting trip starts with thorough preparation. Create a hunting essentials checklist of items to ensure you have everything you need for hunting. The checklist should include hunting licenses, permits, tags, and any legal documentation required for the specific location. Familiarize yourself with the hunting regulations and seasons to ensure compliance.
2. Choosing the Right Hunting Gear
Having the right hunting gear is crucial for a successful trip. Invest in high-quality equipment such as camo clothing, boots, a hunting backpack, a reliable hunting knife, hunting binoculars, and a sturdy rifle or bow.
Consider the terrain and weather conditions to select the appropriate gear. Take spearfishing, for example. Each spearfishing equipment is very subjective, depending on the intent and environment one is hunting. So is hunting on land.
Don’t forget essentials like a reliable knife, binoculars, and a range finder. You will need to invest in high-quality hunting gear when you’re hunting as you want to ensure that your gear is reliable, as good equipment will make things easier for you.
3. Navigation Tools
When exploring unfamiliar territories, reliable navigation tools are essential. If possible, carry a map and compass, a GPS unit, a rangefinder, and a detailed map of the hunting area. These tools will help you navigate dense forests and challenging terrains and ensure you can return to camp.
4. Illumination – Flashlight and Headlamp
As a hunter, you may find yourself in low-light situations, especially during early morning or evening hunts.
Make sure to bring a high-quality headlamp and flashlight will help massively in this situation. They will assist you in setting up your hunting spot, tracking game, and safely navigating in the dark. Also, do not forget to pack extra batteries for backup.
5. First Aid Kit – Your Safety Net
Safety should always be a priority during any hunting trip. Accidents and injuries can happen, so packing a good first-aid kit is crucial. Stock it with bandages, antiseptic ointments, pain relievers, medical tape, and prescription medications you may need. Familiarize yourself with basic first aid procedures as well.
You should also be prepared with your own repair kit if ever any equipment breaks down. Duct tape is one of the most underrated pieces of equipment a hunter can have.
6. Communication Tools
Stay connected with your hunting companions and the outside world, especially in emergencies. Carry a reliable two-way radio or a satellite communication device. These tools allow you to communicate with your group, call for help if needed, and receive important updates.
7. Adequate Food and Water
Proper nutrition and hydration are vital during a hunting trip. Pack lightweight, high-energy snacks and meals like granola bars that are easy to prepare and won’t spoil quickly. Carry an ample water supply or invest in a portable water filtration system to ensure a clean water source throughout your journey.
8. Shelter and Sleeping Gear
A comfortable and reliable shelter is essential for a successful hunting trip, especially if you plan to stay overnight. Consider options such as tents, hammocks, or bivvy sacks that protect from the elements. Invest in a warm and insulated sleeping bag to ensure a good night’s rest.
9. Survival Tools
In unpredictable situations, having survival tools can be a lifesaver. Include items such as fire starters, waterproof matches, a multi-tool, a lightweight tarp, and emergency signaling devices. These tools can help you build a fire, create a shelter, and attract attention in case of an emergency.
10. Knowledge and Skills
No hunting trip is complete without honing your knowledge and skills. Educate yourself about the target game species, their behavior, and their habitat. Practice shooting regularly to enhance your accuracy and proficiency. Continually improve your hunting skills through workshops, training programs, and learning from experienced hunters.
Even if you have the best tools and kits, you are in big trouble if you lack the knowledge and experience to use them. Always remember that your kit should include the necessary skills in hunting, such as basic navigation, familiarity with floras and faunas around the area and basic gun skills.
Just like spear hunting, where you have to learn how to properly do breathing while diving, hunting on land is fairly similar as proper skills and techniques are required from aspiring and even veteran hunters.
Ethics of Underwater Hunting vs. Guided Hunts
The ethics of underwater hunting adventures and guided hunts can vary depending on various factors. In the case of underwater hunting adventures, responsible divers should prioritize species preservation and refrain from targeting endangered or protected marine creatures.
On the other hand, guided hunts must abide by laws, respect hunting seasons, and adhere to established limits to maintain sustainable populations. Guided hunts should prioritize ethical practices such as clean kills, proper handling of game, and the utilization of harvested animals.
By participating in land hunts, underwater hunters can support wildlife management initiatives, promote sustainable hunting practices, and actively contribute to preserving terrestrial species and habitats. This diversification of hunting experiences allows for a well-rounded understanding of ethical hunting principles, fostering a greater appreciation for the interconnectedness of ecosystems both above and below the water’s surface.
A successful hunting trip requires careful planning, the right equipment, and adherence to ethical hunting practices. So before going on your next hunting expedition, consider the things we discussed in this post and apply them when you go hunting.
If you’re a spearfisher, you know there’s something electrifying about that moment when you dive off the boat and submerge yourself into the mysterious deep blue. Your heart is racing, adrenaline is coursing through your veins, and your senses are tuned to the undersea world like never before.
But did you ever stop to think that these spearfishing and boating adventures serve not just as a source of fun but also as potent boosters for your mental health?
The Mental Health Voyage: Boating, Spearfishing, and Well-being
Imagine this: You’re on a boat, the sun is shining down on you, and the vast, calm sea surrounds you. There’s the faint smell of salt in the air, and a gentle breeze is ruffling your hair. There’s something inherently calming about this scenario, isn’t there? This is the benefit of nature exposure. Being outdoors, especially on or near water, can greatly help to reduce stress and anxiety.
Taking the plunge into the water for a bout of spearfishing also means you’re diving headfirst into a powerful physical workout. Swimming works your entire body, and spearfishing amps up the intensity. You’re improving your physical health, sure, but this also translates to benefits for your mental well-being. Regular exercise is known to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety and boost your mood. So, as you’re lining up that perfect shot on a tricky fish, remember: you’re not just working your muscles, but your mind as well.
Spearfishing isn’t just about brute force, though. It requires a high degree of skill, precision, and patience. You need to stalk your prey, move without startling it, and time your shot perfectly. This can be seen as a form of active meditation, requiring focus and calm. Each successful catch can also give you a big boost in self-esteem. After all, outwitting a wily snapper or landing a massive grouper isn’t easy!
One of the best things about boating and spearfishing is the social interaction. Whether you’re part of a dedicated spearfishing crew or just occasionally heading out with a few buddies, these shared experiences can strengthen your social bonds and combat feelings of isolation. There’s nothing like the shared excitement of a good catch or the collective effort to land a challenging fish to promote teamwork and camaraderie.
Last but not least, boating and spearfishing are all about adventure and exploration. Every trip is a new experience, whether you’re discovering a new dive spot, encountering unusual marine life, or mastering new spearfishing techniques. This sense of adventure and novelty can stimulate your brain, making you happier and more satisfied.
So, the next time you’re out on the water, remember: every dive isn’t just a thrilling hunt; it’s also a dive into improved mental well-being. You’re not just landing fish, but a boost to your mental health, too!
Stay tuned for our next section, where we’ll discuss how we can enhance this experience with a bit of fun and humor. After all, a good laugh can be just as beneficial as a good dive. Keep those fins ready!
Riding the Waves of Fun and Humour
Spearfishing and boating may be adventurous activities, but that doesn’t mean we can’t mix in a little fun and humor. In fact, a good belly laugh can be just as therapeutic as a long swim in the deep.
Laughter is often referred to as the ‘best medicine,’ and for a good reason – it decreases stress hormones and increases the number of immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to diseases.
But how can you incorporate fun and humor into your spearfishing and boating trips? Let’s dive into that!
Making a Splash with Boating and Spearfishing Games
Next time you’re out spearfishing, consider introducing a little competitive spirit. Let’s kick things off with a ‘Biggest Catch’ competition. Set a challenge to see who can spear the day’s largest fish. The bragging rights alone will be worth the extra effort!
Not feeling competitive? Try a ‘Scavenger Hunt’ instead. Before you jump in, everyone writes down a fish species common to your location. Then, each diver has to snap a picture with each type of fish during their dive. You might be Spears, but remember, this is a catch-and-release kind of game. Just take a photo, no spearing involved!
If you’re looking for a serious challenge, how about a ‘One Breath, One Shot’ competition? Who can make the most accurate shot in a single breath? This game will test your breath-holding skills and shooting accuracy all at once. Remember, safety comes first. Only attempt this if you’re confident in your breath-hold abilities and always have a buddy watching over you.
Spearfishing Jokes to Keep the Laughter Afloat
Who said spears don’t have a sense of humor? Here’s an arsenal of the best puns you can share with your buddies on your next trip, sure to bring a wave of laughter to your boat. Remember, a shared laugh can be as exciting as a shared catch.
“Why don’t fish play basketball? Because they’re afraid of the net!”
“Why are fish so smart? Because they live in schools!”
“What did the fish say when it swam into a wall? Dam!”
“Why do spearfishers make great musicians? Because they’ve got perfect ‘piercing’ pitch!”
“What do you call a fish with no eyes? Fsh!”
“What do you call a lazy crayfish? A lobster!”
“Why do fish like to know how much they weigh? Because they have their own scales!”
“What do you get when you cross a banker with a fish? A loan shark!”
Feel free to reel these out during your next spearfishing adventure, and remember – the more you share the laughter, the more unforgettable your trips will be! After all, a day without laughter is like a day without diving – it’s just not as good!
Incorporating fun and humor into your spearfishing and boating trips not only enhances the overall experience but also promotes mental well-being.
Crafting Unforgettable Adventures
A boating or spearfishing trip is never just about the catch – it’s about the whole experience. And with a few creative ideas, we can make that experience even more memorable. This not only adds to the joy of the moment but also provides a lasting positive impact on our mental health.
Ever thought of turning your spearfishing trip into a themed adventure? Themed trips could be a fun way to add an extra layer of excitement to your expeditions. Themes can be based on anything from a specific type of fish to marine movie characters. Imagine having a ‘Barracuda Bonanza’ day or a ‘Finding Nemo’ spearfishing adventure! The added element of dress-up or specific goals will surely make for some fun and laughter.
How about a photo contest? Spearfishing offers some spectacular underwater photography opportunities. Why not make the most of them? Set a theme or leave it open-ended and see who can capture the most stunning, fun, or unusual photo during the trip. You could even share these on social media to engage with the wider spearfishing community. This can enhance the sense of camaraderie and connection, which in turn, promotes mental well-being.
But why limit ourselves to the water? The boat ride to and from your spearfishing location can be just as fun. Consider introducing boat games, such as ‘Sea Life I Spy’ or ‘Marine Trivia,’ to keep the energy and laughter flowing.
Remember, it’s not always about the size of the catch; it’s about the size of the smiles, and the depth of the laughter shared among friends.
Spearfishing and boating are not just thrilling adventures but voyages into a world of improved mental health. They offer us a chance to bond with nature, connect with friends, challenge ourselves, and have a whole lot of fun. So, the next time you pull on your wetsuit, remember: every dive is a dive into not just the beautiful deep blue but also a dive into happiness, stress relief, and a healthier mind.
Spearfishing can be tough on the body – so the more physically prepared we are, the better. As both a strength coach and an active spearo myself, I know when I feel physically prepared, my mental game in the water is better too!
We require a certain amount of strength, movement and fitness to load our gun, fin for hours at a time, get in and out of a boat, pull up the anchor, rock hop, pull in fish etc…
The right type of strength training program will have many benefits for spearos including helping us to dive longer, recover better, avoid injuries and dive safer.
However, the wrong type of training can negatively affect our diving and contribute to injuries.
As spearos we need to train smart!
We need to use an exercise program that will have a carry-over to our sport. One that strengthens the whole body, especially the muscles used when spearfishing.
We need to work on things such as leg endurance, upper body and core strength. Having a full range of movement is also beneficial to us. A good exercise program will also include stretches and mobility exercises to help us move better, which will help us dive more efficiently and avoid injuries.
There are even stretches and mobility exercises we can use to release the muscles around the chest and ribcage to promote better posture which will help us breathe better, enabling us to take a fuller breath and increase our bottom time!
I’ve drawn on nearly 20 years experience working as a strength and conditioning coach and my experience as a spearo to design my “Spearo Strength Program”.
This program can be done at home or gym with minimal equipment.
Below are four of my favourite exercises from my Spearo Strength Program that I know, if done regularly, will help you in the water.
BACK AND AB STRETCH
This is a great exercise which will help to correct a hunched back (bad posture).
This type of posture’s the norm these days due to our ever increasing sedentary lifestyles or by doing the wrong type of training.
Posture’s important because it can affect how efficiently you breathe and bad posture will cause many injuries including back, neck and shoulder injuries. All of which can keep you out of the water, cost you lots of money at the physio, chiro or doctor or even lead you to the surgeon’s knife!
BACK AND AB STRETCH VIDEO GUIDE
SUSPENSION STRAP ROW
This exercise will strengthen your upper back and bicep muscles. These are some of the main muscles used to load your gun, pull up an anchor and to do freestyle swim stroke.
HOW TO PERFORM THE SUSPENSION STRAP ROW | VIDEO GUIDE
SUPINE LATERAL BALL ROLL
This exercise will strengthen your legs, back and abdominal muscles and get you strong in all three planes of motion which is important for full body strength and injury prevention both in and out of the water.
This is also a great exercise to use If you have an injury, such as a back or knee injury, because you can strengthen these areas without putting too much load through your joints.
HOW TO PERFORM THE SUPINE LATERAL BALL ROLL | VIDEO GUIDE
BULGARIAN SPLIT SQUAT
This is a great exercise that’ll strengthen all of your big leg muscles used for finning. (glutes, hamstrings, quads and hip flexors).
We use this exercise to develop leg strength and endurance.
This exercise will increase strength and muscle around the knees which will help to prevent knee injuries.
HOW TO PERFORM THE BULGARIAN SPLIT SQUAT | VIDEO GUIDE
My wife makes these sensational Fillet o Fish knock-off burgers that absolutely destroy the Golden Arches version. Not only do you know exactly what is going into them but you can relive the nostalgic taste and everyone else in the family (nearly everyone) enjoys them too. Trust me, Fake Fillet o Fish Burgers are a dead-set crowd pleaser:) Here is her recipe! – Shrek
Fish (cut into thin portion size square shapes. I used Spanish Mackerel)
Vegetable oil (for frying)
Brioche bread rolls
200g /250g Flour
250ml-300ml Lemonade (add until you have a pancake type batter consistency)
Sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste
½ cup Capers
Salt and pepper
½ cup Gherkins
Lemon and lemon rind
1 ½ cup Mayonnaise
The tartare sauce: Pour mayonnaise into bowl. Chop up capers, dill, gherkins and place into bowl. Add salt, pepper, lemon and lemon rind to taste and mix well. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
The batter: Put the flour, egg, lemonade and salt and pepper into bowl and mix well. Place in fridge to keep cold if not using straight away.
Pour enough oil for shallow frying into wok (or fry pan), place on medium to high heat. You can test the oil with a little batter, if bubbling when placed in the oil is ready.
Dip each piece of fish into the batter and coat well. Place battered fish into oil and cook on both sides for a few minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Place on cooling rack or plate with paper towel. Sprinkle with salt.
To assemble burgers, spread a generous amount of Tartare sauce on bottom bun, followed by lettuce, a piece of crispy battered fish and a slice of cheese. Enjoy!
Batter is best when really cold. Placing in fridge until ready to use is helpful or placing two ice cubes into batter when using.
If you have the oil cooking on high the whole time it will burn the batter.
Tom Yum soup usually uses prawns as the main protein but octopus works a treat as an addition or as an alternative. Octopus can turn tough if overcooked. Freezing them for a week helps tenderize them.
The soup is easily made but if Tom Yum paste is readily available, use it. Octopus can be caught wading in rock pools or freediving reefs and weed beds. They can be tickled out of their caves with a spear disconnected from the gun.
Deryck Tan with Perth Octopus
350g (12oz) whole prawns
750ml (3 cups) water
125ml (0.5 cups) chicken stock
3 slices galangal*
3 lemongrass stalks, crushed
5 kaffir lime leaves, crushed
2 chillies, preferably birds eye
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 octopus, cleaned and if desired, cut into bite sized pieces
120g (4oz) mushrooms, preferably oyster
1 tomato, diced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 tsp sugar
3 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp lime juice
* The best substitute for galangal is to use 1 tbsp fresh ginger root with 1/4 tsp fresh lemon juice
Shell the prawns
Place water and chicken stock in a pot
Add prawn heads and shells, lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, chilies and garlic*
Simmer for 10 minutes
Strain the broth
Add mushrooms, tomato and onions to the broth and simmer for 4 minutes
Add prawns and octopus and simmer for 1 minute
Add lime juice and adjust the taste to suit
Garnish with coriander
If Tom Yum paste is readily available, make the soup with it according to instructions and then add the mushrooms, tomato, onion and octopus